Union amends complaint on accrediting commission

Tells ACCJC to stop violating federal law and rescind recent coercive actions

The California Federation of Teachers (CFT) and AFT 2121 have submitted an amended complaint against the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) and filed it with the United States Department of Education.

The amendment, filed July 1, takes into account recent ACCJC actions, which include barring the public from its “public” meeting, passing a policy allowing the Commission to shred and destroy documents that are pertinent to the complaint, and attempting to prevent witnesses to Commission irregularities from providing evidence. Read the amendment here.

CFT maintains that these and other efforts by the Commission to prevent discussion of potential irregularities in a review are contrary to their requirements as regional accreditors to hold complete and accurate records of Commission decisions. These new policies also violate the spirit of accreditation by trying to place behind closed doors crucial decisions about the institutions evaluated by ACCJC.

The initial third party comment and complaint against the ACCJC was filed in April with the accreditors and the US Department of Education. The extensive document raises questions about ACCJC’s impartiality and its compliance with its own policies as well as state and federal law, alleging that during its evaluation of City College of San Francisco, ACCJC violated 10 federal regulations, a federal statute and committed procedural errors and due process violations. It argues that the accrediting agency lacks transparency and violates or inconsistently applies its own standards, calling into question the ACCJC’s treatment of all California community colleges.

In response to CFT’s 298 page complaint, plus 750 pages of documentation, the ACCJC sent a 7 page letter and results from its self-investigation in early June, which dismissed most allegations and denied all others, including conflicts of interest and violations of law and policy, and which failed to address the substance of the issues.

CFT and AFT 2121 responded with a follow-up complaint to the Department of Education pointing to the flaws in the Commission’s less-than-through, lackluster response. This action led to a rather pointed letter to the accreditors from the U.S. Department of Education on June 10, telling the ACCJC that the union complaint was to be taken seriously. Director of the DOE’s Accreditation Group, Kay Gilcher, also referenced regulations related to conflicts of interest and inconsistent appliction of standards, requesting a response be provided by July 8, 2013.

Meanwhile, CCSF awaits the Commission’s ruling on the College’s accreditation status after a year on ‘show cause,’ the most extreme sanction. Though the ACCJC made its decision behind closed doors in early June, the decision has not been revealed. It is expected to be presented to the College and the public by the end of the first week of July.

Posted in Accreditation, News

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